Helium markets tighten up due to unplanned outages


At a time when helium supply would be ample if the major sources were operating normally and helium markets are anticipating a significant influx of new supply from Gazprom’s Amur Project by the end of the year, a series of unplanned outages has temporarily disrupted supply and caused renewed concern about shortages.

Three recent events have removed supply from the market during the months of June and July.

The Skikda, Algeria plant shut down in mid-June and is expected to be out of operation through at least the month of July, due to problems with the LNG plant which provides feedgas for the helium plant. This outage removes 300-400 million cubic feet (MMCF) of annual capacity from world supply.

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